ought


ought
ought
In current use the verb ought is followed by a to-infinitive:

• You ought to have a cooked breakfast, these cold mornings —David Lodge, 1988.

Since it is a modal verb, it forms a negative directly with not and forms a question by plain inversion:

• Things are being permitted that ought not to be permitted —Guardian, 1972

• If Canada should disintegrate…what ought the U.S. to do? —Wall Street Journal, 1990.

In the past, ought does not inflect, and the tense is expressed by the verb following it:

• I remembered…that I ought to have put Sal out.…She barks rather a lot —Edmund Crispin, 1977.

See also didn't ought.

Modern English usage. 2014.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • ought — [ ɔt ] modal verb *** Ought is usually followed by to and an infinitive: You ought to tell the truth. Sometimes it is used without to or a following infinitive in a formal way: I don t practice as often as I ought. It is also used in an informal… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • ought to — W2S1 [ˈo:t tu: US ˈo:t ] modal v [: Old English; Origin: ahte, past tense of agan; OWE] 1.) used to say that someone should do something because it is the best or most sensible thing to do = ↑should ▪ You really ought to quit smoking. ▪ The… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Ought — Ought, imp., p. p., or auxiliary. [Orig. the preterit of the verb to owe. OE. oughte, aughte, ahte, AS. [=a]hte. [root]110. See {Owe}.] 1. Was or were under obligation to pay; owed. [Obs.] [1913 Webster] This due obedience which they ought to the …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Ought To Go — Breed Quarter Horse Discipline Racing Sire Go Man Go Grandsire …   Wikipedia

  • ought — ought1 [ôt] v.aux. used with infinitives and meaning: 1. to be compelled by obligation or duty [he ought to pay his debts ] or by desirability [you ought to eat more] 2. to be expected or likely [it ought to be over soon]: Past time is expressed… …   English World dictionary

  • ought — ► MODAL VERB (3rd sing. present and past ought) 1) used to indicate duty or correctness. 2) used to indicate something that is probable. 3) used to indicate a desirable or expected state. 4) used to give or ask advice. USAGE The standard… …   English terms dictionary

  • ought — ought·lins; ought·ness; ought; …   English syllables

  • Ought — ([add]t), n. & adv. See {Aught}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • ought|n't — «AWT uhnt», ought not …   Useful english dictionary

  • ought — [[t]ɔ͟ːt[/t]] ♦♦♦ (Ought to is a phrasal modal verb. It is used with the base form of a verb. The negative form of ought to is ought not to, which is sometimes shortened to oughtn t to in spoken English.) 1) PHR MODAL You use ought to to mean… …   English dictionary